There is no definitive "best" of anything. There are way too many variables involved. The "best" you can hope for is to find something that works well in your system. You can then say it's the "best" for you until you find something you think is better !!!!
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I don't know if this is the best but it is a good one in your price range I think.
Pioneer Elite PD-D9 Mark 2 (PD-D9MK2-K) SACD/CD Player
I've seen it new or used at about $1,000 or $850 used.
Also the a refurbished Sony SCD-CE595 5-Disc CD/Super Audio CD Player that Buconero117 mentions does appear on the Sony Style website rarely nowadays. Shipping is around $12 to $15
How about the Sony SCD XA5400ES SACD player? I believe this one can be found in your price range.
Agree with Jdub. If you have a $1000 to spend, I wouldn't go used at all. I'd go Oppo BDP-95 new. But then I have a bias that enters into the picture. There are lots of things I'd buy used (speakers or solid state electronics like amps, preamps, dacs, etc.), but I would tend to shy away from buying a used mechanical device such as a CD player or a transport.
.Thanks to all who responded so far!!!
GZ3827, Jdub39,...and Elizabeth.... What makes a used CD player more vulnerable to break down than any other audio component??. Turntable motors do not last forever; drivers and cross-overs can fail in even the most expensive and QC'd speakers. Amps and pre-amps are notorious for droppng a channel or two more than occasionally
Yes, Elizabeth.... with a CD player one has to be sure parts, lasers, and transports are still available before buying; for example Meridian no longer has lasers or transports for the highly touted and sought after 508.24 CD player, and that may also be the true for the Meridian 506. I came close to buying(and still may buy) a Musical Fidelity A-5 CD hybrid CD player first marketed in 1999, which still gets decent reviews. Also,a used Cambridge 840C is a possibility first issued in 2008 (with more features than I could ever use)
Maybe, the above members are correct in assuming that MORE THINGS can go wrong with a CD player. However,let's not forget Audiogon is an audio mart for used equipment with a large catalogue of used CD players,and other used components Jim
RW, Thank you for the recommendation Oppo 95 Universal player. However, I am not interested in Blu-Ray DVD playback or a Home theater set-up, just a simple two channel rig.
I do get stuff from Netfix, which is played on a 6 year old Sony VHS/ DVD combo unit. It is OK, even though the VHS mode has a tracking problem and can't be used. I can buy a Sony BluRay player at Best Buys for $99.00. So why waste the money on features that I will not use.
One thing is certain if I go used,that any used player on AG that is a few years old and is selling for $800-950, I will pay no more than $550 total including shipping. $550 is a not an insubstantial amount of money in today's failing economy, but worth the risk if the player sounds better than what I have. It may play for 10 years more without a glitch, or become a large door stopper in less than one year. It beats the alternative of paying $2500-$3000 for a new high end player, that may be only marginally better than the almost vintage player.
Sunnyjim I have just bought an Oppo BDP 95. Six months ago my Linn Karik Laser went and I bought another Karik III/Numerik. (loved the sound) The Linn was about $6k+ new and I paid $700 and they go on eBay for $1k to 1.4k.
The linn sounds way better on Redbook CD than the Oppo at least with about 100 hours on the Oppo. The Linn can not of course do the many things the Oppo can.
The linn of course at anytime could be a paper weight. I do see lasers for sale for it though. Oddly enough prices are going up not down?
before asking seeking advice, it is a good idea to have some personal experience, with respect to cd players.
have you auditioned any players in your price range ?
there is no substitute for your own ears.
if you have listened to any players in your own system, have you formed any opinions about them ?
your question is open ended, without some input from you as to your preference for performance with respect to a wide range of variables.
My vote is for the Cambridge Audio 840. I have been using one for a couple of years, and was feeding the digital outputs to my Bryston BDA-1.
I recently purchased a PS Audio PWT to replace it, but feeding both to my Bryston and A/B'ing has shown me just how good the Cambridge Audio is. The brightness some folks complain about is in their analog output stages and is absent when you use digital outputs fed to a good D/A. It was so close to the PWT I almost sent the PWT back, but decided to keep it because the PWT will play high res .wav files and the Cambridge won't. The PWT was also a bit better at resolving detail, but not by a huge margin.
Most folks don't also realize the Cambridge is one of the few players that will output upsampled digital to 24/192 as well as the native 16/44.4.
If most of your music is standard CDs, you can't go wrong with the Cambridge. It sells for around $800-900 in very good used condition.
If I were you, I would be looking for an Exemplar or Modwright modified player. These are typically sold for not much money these days, as the modders move on to work on newer players. And many audiophiles upgrade to the newer ones, and sell their older modded players. I have a Denon 3910 modified by Exemplar. I tried the Oppo 95 (fully broken in) in my system, and it was no contest (in favor the modified Denon).
Thanks to all who responded since my last response on 5/23/12. Mrtennis chastized me for not supplying more info but I did not want to bore the members. In addition, he asked if I had "auditioned many players?? the opportunities to do so are slim. I live in the middle of Pacific ocean in a place called Hawaii. There are only two major high-end shops in Honolulu, whose CD player offerings are generally out of my price range. Therefore, I must depend on the goodwill of the AG brotherhood and professional reviews
Update for those who may be interested, I bought a modded Cambridge Audio 550 C player from a third party. The modds were done by Mapleshade Audio. So far, the evaluation process is not going well, but all the cards have not been played; I have about 70 hours on the unit, from mostly playing a CD on repeat.
I have reviewed some of low points of the evaluation process in ANOTHER THREAD in the "digital" category, and followed this thread. A few have responded to the older thread, and took me to the woodshed for a good beating because I "supposedly" fell for the hype and outrageous claims about the modded 55C made on Mapleshade website.
I just got tired looking for a new or very good used player and decided to give this CD player a shot
The modded 550C is in mint/new condition and I paid under $800 including shipping To its credit, the 550c offers lighting fast transient response, and black noiseless backgrounds which enhance its midrange transparency. However, it is less dynamic and provides less midrange detail than my former Rega Apollo. This could, I hope, be related to finding the right IC, and/or PC. I do like the quality of its construction and metal( no plastic here) full function remote; the controls are also quick acting It also has returned me to a front loaning drawer as opposed to Rega's annoying top loading door.
I guess it is better to be disappointed in the performance of $750 CD player than say a $1500-$1800 "used" but "current player" that retails for $2200-2500. Thanks for the comments and advice. Jimbo